FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Pipeline to the White House?

by MICHAEL DONNELLY

Whenever the usual centrist/corporatist Democratic Party presidential candidate needs to burnish the old Green credentials, they can always count a on a cabal of funders, professional “greens,”  incurious media and gullible public to buy into whatever do-nothing/sounds good eco-charade they cook up.

2000’s Keystone Pipeline

Back in 2000, Al Gore was attempting to greenwash off the stain of the Clinton Administration’s many eco-travesties; starting immediately after Inauguration with backsliding over toxic waste incinerators.  After seeing Ancient Forest logging on Public Lands in the Pacific Northwest stopped for the last half of the Pappy Bush Administration, environmentalists and species saw it resumed quickly in Clinton’s first months in the White House under his Option 9 Northwest Forest Plan – in reality, an Extinction Plan for northern Spotted Owls and other old growth-dependent species. The pro-Democrat Big greens called it “our greatest victory.”

Not content with resuming the liquidation of remnant public Ancient Forests, Clinton soon signed into law the “Salvage Rider;” Section 2001 in the emergency Appropriation Act of 1995 (P.L. 104-19, July 27, 1995. This Act pushed a massive, expedited (read: relevant laws suspended) logging of forests based on “Forest Health” – the latest rationale; the forests are dying and burning, so we need to “salvage” what we can – fast. That, however, still wasn’t enough. The Rider also “released” a number of Ancient Forest sales that had been halted, after considerable conservationist pressure, due to habitat concerns.

Add in the dire ecological consequences of Clinton’s Foreign Trade policies – Nafta and GATT ; his opening of the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska to drilling; the failure to control carbon despite heralded international conclaves to address to the Clinton/Gore Administration’s bad forest policies…and Democratic presidential hopeful Al Gore was getting desperate.

Riding to the Greenwash rescue was “The Roadless Rule.”  After three years of dithering, the Forest Service adopted what is known as the Roadless Area Conservation Rule – on Jan. 12, 2001, as Clinton was headed out the White House door. Supposedly, it would place all inventoried roadless public-owned lands in the US off limits to development. The Big Greens all crowed “Clinton saves 58.5 million acres” and Gore had his new coat of verdant paint.

Of course, not one single acre got inviolate “protection.” Eleven years later, very few of the acres have actually garnered inviolate protection – none at all directly due to the Roadless Rule.  Yet, hundreds of thousands of those acres have already seen some level of development since Clinton “saved” them. Annually, we have “Defend the Roadless Rule” “Roadless Rule at Risk” fund-raisers overflowing the mailboxes and e-mails.

Fast Forward to 2011.

The Keystone Feint

The press is awash with stories about the proposed Keystone Pipeline – said pipeline to be built to deliver Alberta’s Tar Sands carbon to refineries in Texas.  Thousands of folks, led by globe-trotting (read: carbon-spewing) pied-piper Bill McKibben, were recently arrested outside the White House protesting the pipeline…many wearing their Obama 2008 shirts and buttons. The follow-up has been a series of op-eds by famous folks decrying the Pipeline.

What no one is noting, however, is that the US is already awash in Tar Sands oil. It’s flowing into the country in thru a spiderweb of multiple existing pipelines. Last years’ 900,000 gallon Kalamazoo spill was Tar Sands oil.   This year’s Yellowstone River spill was caused by corrosion of the pipeline from having used it to transport tar Sands oil.  Ironically, many of the arrestees flew to DC on jets partly fueled with Tar Sands oil.

Just like Bill Clinton’s 2000 Roadless Rule, the Keystone Pipeline is 2012’s eco-feint. The DC “Greens” and their Big Oil Foundation funders began the cynical ploy back in 2008.

Anti-Tar Sands oil ads began appearing in major papers in 2010. They were run under the rubric of something called the No Tar Sands Coalition. Just who and what is that?  The New York Times called it “an assemblage of several environmental groups.” Yes, another non-incorporated, non-democratic group with no voting membership or any accountability to any larger movement…funded by Big Oil Foundations! The Coalition’s own internal documents state that the decision-making structure should be “Invisible to the outside.”

What Foundations? What Groups?

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund gave $250,000 to Corporate Ethics International in 2009 “for its campaign to reduce demand for tar sands oil.” Other foundations, notably the Pew Charitable Trust (Sun  Oil Co-derived); the Hewlett Foundation; and, the Ford Foundation funnel funds thru the Tides Foundation to the “invisible” decision-makers at the Coalition.

Corporate Ethics International is a San Francisco group with $1.6 million annual revenue led by executive director Michael J. Marx. Marx, co-founded ForestEthics and was the force behind the dastardly Great Bear Rainforest sell-out. / Marx is now the “invisible” coordinator of the No Tar Sands Coalition, controlling funding (approx. $7 million since 2008) and determining just what pliable groups get that funding for the effort.

It’s also worth noting that the fall-back “alternative” talking point of the coalition is “Renewable Energy” and every one of the funders (not to mention, Al Gore and his carbon off-sets millionaire cronies) is heavily invested in “alternative energy” (read: mining tax subsidies; killing forests for Biomass). Every one of the foundation-dole “leaders” of the coalition assiduously brings up the “renewable energy” talking point. Conversely, they never mention Obama or any other Democrat in any accountable way and refuse to let anyone (even a stalwart like Ralph Nader) speak at their functions if they might attach some of the blame to Obama.

Willful Ignorance

Well, here’s how it’s gonna play out:

The Pipeline is an election-year set-up.

They don’t intend to build it; never did; don’t need to. As noted, Tar Sands oil is already here coming in thru multiple existing pipelines.

It’ll work like this:

1) sometime next year, Obama will rescind approval for the Keystone Pipeline;

2) the Dem-captured Big Greens will crow “Obama sees the light;” even though Tar Sands oil will still be flowing to US refineries; even though during the recent White House protests, Obama backed-off on clean air rules that would prevent some 12,000 annual deaths by reducing ozone pollution; even though he backed off on opposition to Japanese whaling; even though the administration increased off-shore drilling permits (even after the BP spill!); even though “controlling carbon” has disappeared from any proposed energy bills…

3) the media will report only that “Obama stops the Keystone Pipeline;”

4) the incurious “members” of the green groups will use the “Obama stops the Tar Sands Pipeline” coat of Greenwash to justify their vote for reelection. Many will plan to fly there again on jets fueled with Tar Sands oil for the Inauguration.

To this day, some still believe the Roadless Rule is real…just as many will believe that Obama’s new-found, election-year opposition to the pipeline, though not to Tar Sands Oil itself, is real.

Michael Donnelly is a long-time environmental activist in Salem, Oregon. He can be reached at: pahtoo@aol.com

MICHAEL DONNELLY has been an environmental activist since before that first Earth Day. He was in the thick of the Pacific Northwest Ancient Forest Campaign; garnering some collective victories and lamenting numerous defeats. He can be reached at pahtoo@aol.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 24, 2017
Paul Street
Beyond Neoliberal Identity Politics
Daniel Read
Powder Keg: Manchester Terror Attack Could Lead to Yet Another Resurgence in Nationalist Hate
Robert Fisk
When Peace is a Commodity: Trump in the Middle East
Kenneth Surin
The UK’s Epochal Election
Jeff Berg
Lessons From a Modern Greek Tragedy
Steve Cooper
A Concrete Agenda for Progressives
Michael McKinley
Australia-as-Concierge: the Need for a Change of Occupation
William Hawes
Where Are Your Minds? An Open Letter to Thomas de Maiziere and the CDU
Steve Early
“Corporate Free” Candidates Move Up
Fariborz Saremi
Presidential Elections in Iran and the Outcomes
Dan Bacher
The Dark Heart of California’s Water Politics
Alessandra Bajec
Never Ending Injustice for Pinar Selek
Rob Seimetz
Death By Demigod
Jesse Jackson
Venezuela Needs Helping Hand, Not a Hammer Blow 
Binoy Kampmark
Return to Realpolitik: Trump in Saudi Arabia
Vern Loomis
The NRA: the Dragon in Our Midst
May 23, 2017
John Wight
Manchester Attacks: What Price Hypocrisy?
Patrick Cockburn
A Gathering of Autocrats: Trump Puts US on Sunni Muslim Side of Bitter Sectarian War with Shias
Shamus Cooke
Can Trump Salvage His Presidency in Syria’s War?
Thomas S. Harrington
“Risk”: a Sad Comedown for Laura Poitras
Josh White
Towards the Corbyn Doctrine
Mike Whitney
Rosenstein and Mueller: the Regime Change Tag-Team
Jan Oberg
Trump in Riyadh: an Arab NATO Against Syria and Iran
Susan Babbitt
The Most Dangerous Spy You’ve Never Heard Of: Ana Belén Montes
Rannie Amiri
Al-Awamiya: City of Resistance
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
The European Left and the Greek Tragedy
Laura Leigh
This Land is Your Land, Except If You’re a Wild Horse Advocate
Hervé Kempf
Macron, Old World President
Michael J. Sainato
Devos Takes Out Her Hatchet
L. Ali Khan
I’m a Human and I’m a Cartoon
May 22, 2017
Diana Johnstone
All Power to the Banks! The Winners-Take-All Regime of Emmanuel Macron
Robert Fisk
Hypocrisy and Condescension: Trump’s Speech to the Middle East
John Grant
Jeff Sessions, Jesus Christ and the Return of Reefer Madness
Nozomi Hayase
Trump and the Resurgence of Colonial Racism
Rev. William Alberts
The Normalizing of Authoritarianism in America
Frank Stricker
Getting Full Employment: the Fake Way and the Right Way 
Jamie Davidson
Red Terror: Anti-Corbynism and Double Standards
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, Sweden, and Continuing Battles
Robert Jensen
Beyond Liberal Pieties: the Radical Challenge for Journalism
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Extravagant Saudi Trip Distracts from His Crisis at Home
Angie Beeman
Gig Economy or Odd Jobs: What May Seem Trendy to Privileged City Dwellers and Suburbanites is as Old as Poverty
Colin Todhunter
The Public Or The Agrochemical Industry: Who Does The European Chemicals Agency Serve?
Jerrod A. Laber
Somalia’s Worsening Drought: Blowback From US Policy
Michael J. Sainato
Police Claimed Black Man Who Died in Custody Was Faking It
Clancy Sigal
I’m a Trump Guy, So What?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail